Carol Peterson is a blogger friend that has helped me tremendously in learning how to write and through encouragement to complete my books and continue down the path to being an author. I was able to flag her down recently to answer a few questions about her writing, she’s pretty busy as you will see below…
Chris:Â We ran across each other through the Christian Writers Blog Chain, a great place to connect with other believers who have a passion for writing. It was quite some time before I realized that you have a second website, carolpetersonauthor.com. It looks like you have written 4 books that are educational and used in the classroom. Are you working on any other books right now?
Carol:Â Christian Writers is an awesome group of talented and Christ-loving folks!
Iâ€™m not working on any educational books right now, although I still have a heart for writing for kids and am working on a couple of young adult novels. Recently, my writing focus has moved toward adult Christian women. The book Iâ€™m most excited about is a bible study on the Book of Esther. Call Me Esther was one of those God-inspired projects I tried to argue with God about. â€œA book, God? Really? How about a nice series of blog posts instead?â€
It never works to try and persuade God that your plan is better than His. Call Me Esther became a book.
Chris:Â I am curious how you got started writing, did you recognize this as a gift at an early age or was it something that you stumbled upon later in life?
Carol:Â I have always loved writing but it wasnâ€™t until 12 years ago that I finally sat down to pursue writing seriously. Several months later I had a 450-page middle grade novel. You can correctly assume from the page count that it was horrible! Iâ€™ve since understood that â€œhorribleâ€ is part of the process for a story or an idea to become something good. It reminds me of the process God goes through when He works on our character. Iâ€™m sure glad He doesnâ€™t give up at â€œhorribleâ€!
Chris:Â We’ve talked a little bit about publishing and self-publishing, and you actually encouraged me to self-publish my first book. Do you see people self-publishing educational books? I’m guessing this market must be a little different than mainstream book publishing, right? Are there specific publishers that specialize in educational books?
Carol:Â I donâ€™t see self-publishing for educational books at this time. Teachers work from curriculum standardsâ€”requirements by grade, subject matter and contentâ€”specified by each stateâ€™s Department of Education. A writer might have a self-published bookâ€”a biography, for exampleâ€”that an individual teacher might like. But if you want to really focus on educational writing, then for now, youâ€™re better off working with an established publisher. Teachers have an awesome responsibility to educate our kids. They need the assurance that what they share with their students has a respected publisherâ€™s fact checking behind it.
In answer to your second question, yes, there are many great educational publishers. The best way to find one that fits your specific book is through Childrenâ€™s Writers and Illustrators Market Guide or the Society of Childrenâ€™s Writers and Illustrators (www.scbwi.org).
Chris:Â You’re someone that I truly admire the passion that you have for learning more about Jesus. Do you ever find it challenging to keep growing in your relationship with Jesus?
Carol:Â Thanks, Chris.
Jesus wants to be known by us. Seek and ye shall find; speak, Lord for your servant is listeningâ€¦I take those verses to heart. I figure that as long as I continue to seek God, He will continue to show me more of His character. He will also continue to show me parts of my character Heâ€™d like me to change. But thatâ€™s a good thing, too because I know Heâ€™ll be with me, loving me through it all even if it takes practically forever. And for some areas of my character, it feels like itâ€™s forever alreadyâ€¦
Chris:Â You’ve attended some writers conferences, how are these beneficial for writers? Can you recommend any good ones?
Carol:Â Writing conferences are fabulous! I attend as many SCBWI conferences as I can. When I began writing for kids, I was starved for information about the publishing business and the craft of writing. Now, I attend conferences for the opportunity to meet agents and editors and learn more about how to market the books Iâ€™ve sold.
Iâ€™ve not attended any Christian writer conferences. American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) has an annual conference I understand is terrific. Since I havenâ€™t yet jumped into the Christian fiction pool though, small local Christian and online writing groups fill the gap for me.
I encourage folks who canâ€™t attend a conference far from home to start their own small group in order to gather and share information and encouragement. There are more struggling writers â€œout thereâ€ than youâ€™d imagine. Itâ€™s hard to sit in a corner and write alone. Much better to find encouragement from others who understand what youâ€™re doing and going through.
There are â€œyahooâ€ writing groups online to get a person started. Sometimes simply posting a notice at the library will find you several book-loving writer cohorts. And, of course, at ChristianWriters.com, folks can find oodles of great Christian writers.
Thanks so much, Chris, for the opportunity to chatter on about my love of writing and, especially, about my love for Jesus. You geologists rock!
Do you have any questions that you would like to ask Carol about her writing or publishing books?